Thursday, 27 March 2008

Thirteen Live Performances

Thirteen Bands/Artists I Have Seen in Concert

Yeah, I got behind again this week - so I'm going with an "Old Faithful" of sorts. Still, I'm sure a lot of you have seen some of the same artists, so who's complaining, eh?

Here we no particular order...

1. My first concert ever:

Ah... the '80s. When I saw Duran Duran, I was thirteen, hadn't eaten or slept for days, and I was madly in love with Simon le Bon. Yeah, I know...

2. The next concert I attended was with my pregnant sister-in-law.

Julian Lennon. He was promoting his second album - The Secret Value of Daydreaming. Remember? No? Maybe it was just me, then... (Judging from the sales, this is probably pretty accurate.)

3. Then I went through another sixties-love-fest phase, and rediscovered my love for:

The Monkees. Circa 1986-87 and their album "That Was Then, This Is Now". Not a bad track, and they did a fun show (with several other '60s artists, such as The Turtles, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Herman's Hermits). I saw them five times, but unfortunately for me, my fave Monkee, Mike, didn't tour with them at that time. :(

4. Some years later, I attended a concert by these blokes, with my husband-to-be in tow.

The Moody Blues. They were touring "The Keys To the Kingdom". Remember? No? ...huh...

5. This guy was a biggie, of course. I saw him in 1990, I believe.

Paul McCartney, of course. He was touring "Flowers in the Dirt". Still a rather good album, I think.

6. When this artist came to town, I had to see him:

Eric Clapton. Awesome. Certainly one of the best shows I ever saw.

7. I saw this performer with a friend of mine, during "Out Week" in Tampa.

Melissa Etheridge. She wasn't out yet, at the time. Neither was my friend. So, I don't think it was a date, exactly. Was it?

8. Another time, with the same friend, I saw this singer:

Belinda Carlisle. I met her in 1986 and got her autograph, and an autograph for another friend of mine (he wasn't out yet, either). Then I saw her when she toured for the above album in 1989. I'm sorry to say, I was rather disappointed.

9. And then...

Pink Floyd. What more need I say? That is, other than the fact that I was obsessed with this band for nearly 15 years? That I was so mad about singer/guitarist David Gilmour that I actually travelled from Florida to London to see his shows in 2002? Which leads us to:


David Gilmour - London, 2002. ...sigh... Three shows in one week. And since I'd gone to all that trouble, I was rewarded by being able to see another obsession perform:


See that wee little figure in the background? Do you recognize her? Probably not, but there's a handful of us who went mad when she turned up at David's show on January 18th, 2002. Yup, that's

Kate Bush!

12. However, before I saw Gilmour, I saw his one-time counterpart perform (three times, as well: Milwaukee, Houston and Dallas).

Roger Waters. And I'm happy to say, he's much friendlier onstage than I'd ever expected. LOL!

13. Now, the most recent live show I attended was by an Italian artist. Those who know me well already know who I'm talking about. My current obsession and writing inspiration:

Samuele Bersani. ...sigh... I love his music, I adore his humor and his voice just absolutely melts me. The best part? My hubby is totally cool with all of that. Isn't my hubby great?

And that's the Thirteen for this week! I hope you've enjoyed...

Erm, what? Oh, oh, yeah! Right. Scroll down, ladies...

Frank Lampard - British Footballer

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Thursday Thirteen - LOL!

My Thirteen Favorite LOL Cats (mostly)!

Anyone who knows me knows this is true about me:

I'm a shining example of pure stupidity once you put a cat in front of me. I can spot a cat at a hundred yards, while driving down a busy Italian road. (Okay, I'm the passenger, but you get the idea.)

Anyone who knows me also knows this: I love stupid captions on goofy pictures of cats, dogs, hamsters, squirrels - whatever. If it's silly, snarky, or makes no sense at all, chances are, I'll enjoy it.

I know, it's a sickness.

I spend far too much time on, as well. I think it's time for an intervention, or something.

Anyway, for this illustrious Thursday Thirteen, I'm posting 13 of my favorite "LOL Cats" and otherwise manipulated pics. (Please don't nitpick me about the accuracy of the term and stuff, folks. I like the cat pictures. That's all.)

So, here goes!

I don't know why, but I hear this in my head in a really high-pitched, nasally voice.

Don't we all have days like this?

Indeed. All hail.

A longtime favorite of mine. It is exquisitely strange.

Hee-hee! Durrrrrrrrrrrrr... Again. Don't we all have days like this?

It's true! It's true! Isn't it? Well, maybe that's just me... I never make the girly "Squee!" sound so reliably except when seeing a kitten.

I just really, really wish I'd been able to snap the picture, myself. A thing of beauty, I think.

I don't wish to offend anyone with this one, but... I can't help it - it makes me laugh every time I see it.

This site very narrowly avoided being named "Seriously, You Guys...Seriously." If I have a catchphrase, it's this. I need help.

I hear this in my head, too, in a warbly, verge of tears munchkin voice...

Wait, man, what? Oh, wow...

The look on the adult's face says it all, no? I bust out laughing every time I see this, but I can't say just why.

Amen to this one! ;)

No, no, sillies! I didn't forget the eyecandy! Scroll down...

And since I couldn't choose just one...

Roberto Bolle... dancer

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Thirteen Things About the Number Thirteen!

I was caught unawares, this week - which means I actually got some writing done! Woo-hoo!

So, here's my utterly random Thursday Thirteen:

Thirteen Things About the Number Thirteen!

1) According to Christian belief, there were 13 people at the last supper.

2) It was at one time associated with the Epiphany: it is said that Jesus received the Magi on the thirteenth day of his life.

3) Jewish boys celebrate their Bar Mitzvah on their 13th birthday.

4) Friday the Thirteenth is thought to be an especially unlucky day, particularly in English-speaking cultures.

5) The unlucky thirteenth day of the month in Greek and Spanish cultures is Tuesday, not Friday.

6) Thirteen is not unlucky in Italy - in fact, it is a lucky number. (Seventeen is the unlucky number, here.)

7) The natural lunar cycle of a year has thirteen months instead of twelve.

8) The Code of Hammurabai has no 13th law.

9) April 13th is the Sikh New Year.

10) There are 13 loaves in a "baker's dozen".

11) On the thirteenth day of the Persian new year, it is considered unlucky to stay at home.

12) Many airplanes do not have a 13th row, and many buildings do not have a 13th floor. The numbers skip directly to 14.

13) And, finally, there are 13 players on a rugby team. Aren't we glad for that?

Yes. Yes we are.

Monday, 10 March 2008

I Got Tagged, Too! The Telephone Game!

You all probably know how this works; a group gets in a circle, and the first person whispers a word or phrase to the next person, who whispers it to the next, and so on and on... Usually, by the time it gets back to the first person, it's totally different.

Well, this is the internet meme version.

Kathleen tagged me to play, so here's my entry in the telephone game...

“Jocelyn and Will went up Knob Hill to find some privacy. Jocelyn fell down and knocked her crown and begged Will to kiss the owie. Will was happy to oblige Jocelyn’s innocent desire without further bruising, but his kisses weren’t enough. If he hadn’t already lost his bet to Jocelyn, he would have that night.”

And I'm whispering to Jennifer, Tara, and Lia (I hope I haven't repeated anyone?).

Tag! Yer it!

Here are the rules for this meme:

1. Change something in the paragraph you received; a minimum of 1 word, a maximum of 20 words.
2. Link to the post at and leave a comment so we can keep track of what happens to the paragraph. I will link back to you.
3. Link to the person who tagged you, preferably to where ever they posted their version of the paragraph.
4. Tag three people you think might enjoy this game. Let them know they’ve been tagged. Link to them.
5. Include these rules in your post.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

The Soundtrack of Your Life

(Gina Ardito posted this for her Thursday Thirteen, and I liked it so much, I had to do it right away. This is the corrected version of mine, which first appeared in her blog - I didn't alter the choices, just put them where they should have been!)

If your life were a movie, what would the soundtrack be?

Open your music library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod). Put it on shuffle. Press play. For every section, type the song that's playing. Next section : press the next button. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool. Play it as it comes up.

1. Opening Credits: "Meraviglia" (which means "Wonderful")(Samuele Bersani) Hmmm... Interesting choice to start with, iPod... But I can imagine it working really well. :)

2. Waking Up: "Hammering In My Head" (Garbage) LOL! "I'm stressed but you're freestyle /
I'm overworked but I'm undersexed /I must be made of concrete /I sign my name across your chest " LOL!

3. Falling in Love: "Big Julie" (Jarvis Cocker) "She's by herself again/ in the quiet secret night/ below the neighbor's window/ hands in pockets/ head on one side..."

4. Breaking Up: "Hello Goodbye" (the Beatles) How perfect is that? LOL!

5. Life's Okay: "Beneath the Blue Sky" (the Go-Go's) Make of it what you will... ;)

6. Mental Breakdown: "Beauty Mark" (Charlotte Gainsbourg) It's moody enough to work, for sure...

7. Flashback: "Se Ti Convincerai" ("If You Will Convince Yourself")(Samuele Bersani) - "If you will convince yourself, my love/ with calm I will give to you/ my whole list of excuses/ comprised of those which not even I have known..."

8. Getting Back Together: "Hungry Like the Wolf" (Duran Duran) - now that's random!

9. Wedding: "One Slip" (Pink Floyd) - Another utterly random one, but it begins with these lines: "A restless eye across a weary room/ A glazed look, and I was on the road to ruin/ the music played and played as we whirled without end/ no hint, no word/ her honor to defend..." Sounds more like a love scene song, to me...then again, it eventually talks about an unplanned pregnancy, so...

10. Birth of Child: "Love and Anger" (Kate Bush) "It lay buried here/ It lay deep inside me/ It's so deep I don't think that I can speak about it..."

11. Final Battle: "Ragazzo dell'Europa" ("Boy of Europe") (Gianna Nannini) It has a rather plodding, weary beat and lots of '80s style guitars... Still, a bit too random, I guess.

12. Death Scene: "Un Matto" ("A Fool") (Fabrizio de Andrè) - I confess, I don't know this one really well, but it's a perky tune. :)

13. Ending Credits: "Up the Khyber" (Pink Floyd) OMG! LOL! It's an instrumental, but - nasty potential double meanings aside - it could totally work as a closing theme. Hmmm...

Wow, this was fun! Thanks for posting it, Gina! :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Thursday Thirteen - Yummah! 13 Italian Dishes

Yummah! 13 (or is it 14?) Italian Dishes

I thought I knew about Italian food before I came here. Yo! I'd even lived in New Joisey for a few years amongst the Guidos, shouldn't that qualify me? In a word, "No." If you've never been to Italy, chances are you have no idea about the cuisine. If you think Pizza Hut is good pizza, you couldn't be further off the mark. Chef Boy-ar-dee? Gag. Olive Garden? (Pass me the Chef Boy-ar-dee, please...) Garlic is a distant dream in the cooking of the average Italian chef, trust me on this - and I have the distinct pleasure of living in the Emilia-Romagna region of the country, close to Bologna, which has the finest traditional cuisine in Italy. (But that's what they all say.) It has to be sampled to be believed, which is a pity, truly.

So, here is a list of 13 delicacies from Italia. Buon Appetito!

Let's start with the breakfast, shall we? No Italian breakfast (or mid-morning break, or mid-afternoon break, etc, etc.) is complete without Caffè! And these three are the most popular forms (that I've seen):

1a) Espresso - in its classic form, espresso (not "expresso", for Heaven's sake!) is thick, almost creamy, and when compared to American coffee, quite strong. However, a "shot" of espresso has less caffeine than a regular cup of an American brew. It can be served "macchiato" (or "stained" with milk), "corretto" ("corrected" with a shot of alcohol, such as grappa or brandy), or even, "Affogato" ("drowned") - which means over a scoop of gelato. (MMMMmmm...)

1b) Caffè Latte - literally "coffee milk" - this is what some youngsters grow up on, here. One part coffee to two or three parts warmed milk, and traditionally served in a bowl (which is how many Italians take their breakfast tea - which is served with lemon, not milk). Starbucks has done a great many travellers a disservice by getting them used to ordering this drink by the name "Latte". (Try that in Italy, folks, and you'll just get a glass of milk.) Let's say that word again, okay? "Milk". Okay, I think it's out of my system, now.

1c) Cappuccino - a modern classic, this tasty treat is also done a disservice by many. It takes skill to make a proper cappuccino, and that machine at the gas station eatery doesn't have what it takes. (Tasty though those treats are!) My photo here actually shows a "Cappuccino con Panna" (Cappuccino with Cream), not a more traditional version of the drink. Either way, I loooove these! They're a great way to start the day, and wonderful before a long train journey.

Okay, enough about that... Let's move on to lunch and dinner, shall we?

2) Bruschetta - pronounced "Broos-ket-ta" (NOT brooshetta, please! I'm begging!), this is simplicity at its finest: Bread, toasted in the oven or over a fire, rubbed with garlic, brushed with olive oil, then sprinkled with a hint of salt and pepper. As you can see here, tomatoes are sometimes added, along with a bit of basil. This is one dish you can eat any time of year. And no, "bruschetta" is not really the toppings you can buy in a jar. Well, sort of. It's come to mean that, now, but the traditional take is what I've described. Bread. Garlic (rubbed, not cut or paste). Olive oil. What more do you need, really?

3) Piadina (Pee-ah-dee-na) - A regional specialty (not Roman) here in Emilia-Romagna. It consists of flatbread, thinly-sliced meat, cheese and lettuce. If you want, you can enjoy it with a sweet filling, like marmalade or, mmmmm... Nutella!

4) Of course, there's also Pizza! The difference being that, in most of Italy, when you order a pizza, you're ordering one per person, and you eat it all yourself. It sounds like a big deal, but it isn't - the pizzas here are thinner than in the US - and can be ordered "tirata", or "pulled", to make them even thinner.

5) No meal is complete without the following delicacy - Parmigiano Reggiano! You might know it better as Parmesan cheese, but trust me on this, that stuff you're eating out of the can with "Kraft" written on it is as far from the real thing as it's possible to be! This stuff is so good that, not only is it as good as money, in some cases, but international laws apply to the usage of the name "Parmigiano Reggiano". If what you're sprinkling over your pasta doesn't have this name on it, it's NOT the real thing. And you owe it to yourself to try it - at least once.

6) Balsamic Vinegar - This is a product from either Reggio nell'Emilia or Modena, and it is noted in historical documents as far back as the Middle Ages. It has been lauded as an elixir for medicinal purposes, and was once highly regarded for its value in trading. It is often served with Parmigiano Reggiano, and like its companion dish, Balsamic Vinegar has its name ("Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" or "di Reggio Emilia") protected by copyright laws. It's sweet enough to serve drizzled over desserts, such as Crème Caramel, Zabaglione, and even ice cream. Think about that, y'all. Vinegar and ice cream!

7) Pasta Carbonara - This one was a revelation to me, and one I grew to love. Pasta (usually spaghetti), an egg, cream, and pancetta (the Italian version of bacon). MMMmmmm... Grate just a teensy bit of Parmigiano Reggiano on top, and this dish is fantastic - especially in winter.

8) Tortelli di Zucca - Pumpkin-filled pasta! I had never had this until I came here, either, but it's one of my favorites ever, now! Also known as Pumpkin ravioli, this dish hails from Mantova, but is a specialty here in Reggio Emilia, too. I go through phases where I just can't get enough of this one. The filling is made of pumpkin (or other winter squash), nutmeg, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a few other spices. These can be served with a bit of melted butter, or in a ragu (a meat sauce). A friend of mine likes these served with a walnut sauce - yummmah!

9) Erbazzone - another regional specialty. This converted me to eating spinach at the age of 34 (no small feat!) - by combining the dreaded spinach (or, alternatively, swiss chard) with Parmigiano Reggiano, egg, and - oh, dear - Lard! All of this is wrapped up in a flaky pastry crust. Of course there are other spices and stuff, but this is delicious, so I don't care what else is in there. (And I hate to argue with certain "Food Network" chefs, but I do believe that this dish originated in Reggio Emilia, NOT Parma.)

10) Risotto con Fragole - Risotto with Strawberries! - It is what it is, folks. Risotto (creamy Italian rice), served with strawberries. Sweet, but not too much so, with a hint of Parmigiano Reggiano in the mix - this is often served as a first dish (Not a dessert!). Delicious - but a little goes a long way...

11) Cappelletti (or Tortellini) - Delicious little pasta pockets, round in overall shape, with fillings of meat and/or cheese (wanna guess which cheese is quite popular, here?) and served in chicken broth, in ragu, or with butter.

12) Pocket Coffee! A tasty little candy treat, from the makers of (oh, God bless 'em!) Nutella! Three of these little chocolates (filled with an espresso syrup) equal one actual shot of espresso. Great for a wee pick-me-up in the late afternoon, when you feel like you're winding down. I mean, chocolate! Espresso! Divine!

Of course, I can't finish this without mentioning a personal favorite of mine - and so many others...

13) GELATO!!! This is a treat so delicious, no description of the tastes or textures can do it justice. It truly has to be sampled to be understood. Let this suffice to say: No matter the time of year, there is a gelateria open somewhere, so Italians can get a fix of this frozen delight. I've seen people strolling with a huuuuge cone of gelato, gobbling it down, in the middle of a chilly rain, in Firenze. I've purchased a kilo of it (two pounds) in mid-winter, when it was too cold to stand outside to eat it. I've eaten it for dinner in the middle of July. The taste is so intense, you only need a little bit, and you feel satisfied much faster than you would with regular "ice cream".

A typical Italian gelateria - and customer. ;)

Still not satisfied, eh, ladies? Oh, all right... Here's some eye candy:

Costantino Vitagliano - Italian TV "personality"